Spire for One World Trade Center arrives in NYC
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With liquid concrete belching from tubes linked to powerful street-level pumps, the roof - open to the sky - resembled the deck of a busy, mammoth schooner.
Iron girders crisscrossed the air under three giant cranes rising like metal masts in the wind.
For now, the top of the building is reachable using noisy industrial elevators, then climbing a series of narrow, vertical stairs.
Workers are shielded from the deadly sheer drop only by a cocoon of netting that cloaks the peak.
From there, the 360-degree stratospheric view of the city reaches deep into surrounding states and the ocean; some say you can see Earth's curvature.
On Tuesday, as one section of concrete was smoothed out, a cheer rose up among the men.
Suddenly, a commercial plane flew nearby, passing the trade center whose twin towers were decimated on Sept.
11, 2001, by terrorist-commandeered airliners.
With a beacon at its peak to ward off aircraft and LED lights in various colors, the spire will provide public transmission services for television and radio broadcast channels that were destroyed on 9/11 along with the towers.
The 16-acre (6.4-hectare) site is well on its way to reconstruction, with the 72-story Four World Trade Center also going up within sight of the highest building.
Tenants for One World Trade Center's 3 million square feet (280,000 square meters) of office space so far include magazine publisher Conde Nast and the federal General Services Administration.
On Tuesday, a visitor noticed graffiti on a rooftop girder, scrawled by a worker in the building that replaces the fallen towers as the dominant emblem of the New York skyline. The words read: "Change is from within.''